Treating Drug Addiction and Mental Health Disorders Simultaneously
The physical and mental complications associated with substance abuse are plentiful. Drug abuse commonly causes physical problems such as liver disease, lung disease, heart disease, vitamin deficiencies and brain damage. When taken during pregnancy, drugs are the cause of birth defects. Some drugs affect the immune system and increase the risk of infections. People who take amphetamines are at risk of heart attacks, strokes, recurring severe anxiety and paranoia. Hallucinogens, because they distort reality, can make people temporarily psychotic or make them attempt illegal acts, like stealing, for example.
Diseases such as AIDS or hepatitis transmitted while sharing needles are yet another consequence of drug abuse. Overdoses can even cause death. When you realize that the complications of drug abuse are not worth risking your life, find help at an addiction treatment program.
Oftentimes, a drug addict or alcoholic also suffers from one or more mental disorders, such as depression, that was a contributing factor in the addictive behavior. The diagnosis of this condition is called “dual diagnosis.” Alcoholics and addicts with mental health disorders should be treated for both disorders at the same time. In the past, addiction professionals questioned if a person with multiple disorders should be treated for mental health or addiction first.
Through research, it was determined that since some patients use drugs to treat mental health problems, and others have mental health issues because of their drug use, the most effective way to treat the addiction and the mental disorder is to treat them simultaneously.
If you think you may be suffering from a mental health disorder, such as depression, and you are also addicted to alcohol or drugs, it is imperative that you seek addiction treatment help immediately.
As with any chronic diseases, relapse can occur during or after successful addiction treatment. Individuals who have suffered with addiction for many years may require prolonged addiction treatment, or more than one cycle of addiction treatment, before they can accept the life changes needed to achieve long-term abstinence and full restoration to a life free of drugs.
The period of time immediately following addiction treatment is just as important as being in treatment, and continuous support will be necessary to remain drug free. A relapse indicates that more work, and probably more addiction treatment, is needed.
Do not give up! If you or someone you know is suffering from a relapse of drug or alcohol addiction, do not panic. Seek the help of a professional addiction treatment program.